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Comment: Re:Zoning laws are tyranny (Score 1) 593

by NeutronCowboy (#48608939) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Interesting. Just as a heads-up, HOAs are not all the same, and they're certainly not mandated by the state. They're mandated by developers, who love them due to the fact that they give them the ability to control the look of the development while they're still selling lots, all the while providing them with a lowered financial risk. In that sense, they're definitely not a normal free-association community: you want to buy that house, you join the HOA. Kinda like a union for rich people. Furthermore, they frequently end up being controlled by the people with the most free time: house wives whose kids have left the nest. And that leads to some ugly, ugly rules and enforcements.

Comment: Re:Zoning laws are tyranny (Score 4, Insightful) 593

by NeutronCowboy (#48603743) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

What I always find fascinating is that the biggest libertarians invariably live in areas with very strong and expensive HOAs - if not outright gated communities.

Here's the thing: you don't live in your own universe. Where your activities impact and intersect with others, you need to come to agreements on how to behave with those others. Zoning laws are just one way to codify those agreements.

Comment: Re:There is no vaccine for the worst diseases (Score 4, Informative) 1039

Our reasoning is that the vacine is highly likely to actually cause a case of Chicken Pox, while it does not provide an actual immunity worth the term.

What? ahref=http://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/vaccination.htmlrel=url2html-1107http://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/...> 98% immunity is pretty fucking good. From the same link: "However, the risk of getting shingles from vaccine-strain VZV after chickenpox vaccination is much lower than getting shingles after natural infection with wild-type VZV. " As far as I can tell, you're wrong on pretty much all counts.

Comment: Re:Knowledge is the solution (Score 1) 1039

A democratic government isn't something separate from the population. The population gives legitimacy to the government through regular election. If you don't like the government, take it up with the population that elected it.

That said, this isn't even a case of tyranny of the majority. This is a case of the population codifying rules that are designed to prevent a few asshats from irreversibly harming many individuals and taxing society at large.

To put it in terms you understand: people got together and decided of their own accord that unvaccinated people present a massive and unwarranted risk to them, and they're setting up rules how the people who don't want to get vaccinated can interact with them. Furthermore, your personal freedoms end when they negatively impact my well-being.

Comment: Re:the mysterious "us" (Score 4, Insightful) 178

by NeutronCowboy (#48568199) Attached to: LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

Buildings don't decide anything, building owners do. The problem is that without building codes, building owners are incentivized to not make buildings earthquake safe: no one short of a civil engineer doing a tear-down analysis can figure out on their own if a building is earthquake-safe, which means that no one does, and everyone rolls the dice. Since earthquakes are rare, it's quite possible that the original builder will never be exposed to the results of shoddy building practices. However, it is guaranteed that someone will be. So we have a situation where the risk analysis is very difficult if not mandated ahead of time, the event is rare for a particular individual but guaranteed for a population, and the cost up-front for an individual is fairly large. The rational calculation for each individual builder is to not make it earthquake safe, and just claim it is ok. This shifts cost from individual builders onto the population at large.

Building codes are essentially the general population saying to individual builders "we made our risk-benefit analysis, and we're not going to subsidize you."

Comment: Re:the mysterious "us" (Score 4, Insightful) 178

by NeutronCowboy (#48567335) Attached to: LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

Shocking: building owners are supposed to pay others to maintain their buildings. What's the current world coming to? Wealthy owners should be able to have their work done for free, so that they can keep more of their hard-earned money.

The reason that the discussion isn't framed more to be about the safety of citizens is because it's assumed that people understand to have buildings not collapse in an earthquake is a generally good thing for everyone. Do you really have to have a discussion about how not having buildings collapse onto people inside them is a good thing or a bad thing? We even have some pretty good numbers of the costs associated with earthquakes, as they happen frequently enough in plenty of developed and undeveloped areas.

Comment: Re:Another "taking" by the California government.. (Score 4, Insightful) 178

by NeutronCowboy (#48567255) Attached to: LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

All they have to do is compile a list of buildings that the City deems to be unsafe, and the owners will be sufficiently encouraged to make the upgrades (or lose their present tenants.) No subsidies, no tax breaks, no cost to the city.

Ah yes, the magic of the free market. There's absolutely no cost associated with moving, and there is a ready supply of housing that offers everything that the unsafe housing does, minus the lack of earthquake readiness.

Folks: the U.S. government (or any part thereof) can't just march in and force property owners to change their property. Government has to compensate the owners for any taking of a property-owner's rights. If the City of L.A. wants to march in and say "you don't get to use your office building because it isn't earthquake-proof", then the City has to buy the property at fair market value.

Yes, because enforcing building codes constitutes a "taking". I'm sure you absolutely wouldn't do something like blame the government if buildings collapse in an earthquake due to lax building codes or lax enforcement.

The really sad part isn't that you actually believe this, it's that you're not the only one.

Comment: Re:"Expected" to release methane (Score 2) 329

by NeutronCowboy (#48564601) Attached to: Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Millions of Tons of Methane

The Methane Clathrate gun is a pretty well known and understood situation. Methane Clathrates exist, the temperature at which they're released is understood, and the impact of all that methane on the atmosphere is also well understood. The only question that's still open is when exactly ocean temperatures will reach the range in which the gun will be triggered. Just hope you aren't around for it.

Chemist who falls in acid is absorbed in work.